What We Can Learn About Relationships From Cider
“The heat of autumn is different from the heat of summer. One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider.” ~Jane Hirshfield
Last weekend, my family and I attended a “cider pressing” party that is held annually at the home of some friends from our church. Everyone brings a dish to pass and a couple of empty jugs so they can take home some of the fresh apple cider that we make. People of all ages and all walks of life come to the party and everyone pitches in somehow to make the day a success. We’ve been doing this for years. It’s great Fall fun and the cider is delicious!
As we pressed the cider this year, I began to think about how we could all learn a lot about our relationships from cider and the process that we use to make it at our friend’s house. I hope you like these:
1. The apples used to make great cider might not be what you’d think. The apples we use to make the cider come from a local farmer that also attends our church. He supplies a large wooden crate (called a field box) of something called “grounders.” These are apples that have fallen off the tree and cannot be sold to customers. They’re marked up, bruised and have big cuts on them. And they make great cider! Look at the people that you interact with each day. Do we often judge them on what we see in them from the outside? This leads to the next point…
2. To make cider, you must get the juice out of the apple. No matter how the apple looks, it still has delicious juice on the inside. To get the juice out, you literally grind the apple. What this means to our relationships is that to really get to know someone you need to “get to their inside.” What is truly important to them? What are their passions? The way to “get to their inside” is to ask great questions and really, really listen!
3. The best cider comes from the juice of many different types of apples. My job at the party this year was to fill buckets of apples from the field box. These buckets were taken over to the people that were grinding and pressing the apples into cider. In the field box, I noticed no fewer than 4 different types of apples. Cider made from one type of apple is good. Cider made from many different types of apples is tremendous! In your relationships, make sure you’re identifying the many and varied gifts of everyone you meet. If you can do this, you’ll really enrich your life.
4. It takes a good team for the cider making process to be successful. There are many different roles involved in the cider making process. People organize the food table, load up the buckets of apples, haul them to the press, load and operate the press, take the buckets of cider from the press and fill jugs for people to take home. We need different people for different jobs. For example, when we get near the bottom of the field box, we need to put little kids inside the box to load buckets, because the adults can’t reach the bottom by leaning over the edge of it. When building teams, make sure to identify and utilize the talents that every individual brings to the team.
5. The process is really simple! The press we use was made in the 1940s by an uncle of the host. It has a grinder, a barrel that holds the ground apples and a press that fits inside of the barrel to push the juice from the pulp. In what areas of life, especially relationships, do you make things too complicated? Make an effort to simplify your relationships and your life!
I wish you all the best in building and maintaining great relationships…now go out and grab a nice cold glass of cider!